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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A reduction in government spending could also reduce UF faculty retirement benefits.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a plan to reform Florida’s retirement system to cut government spending. 

The Florida Retirement System’s Annual Report for 2009 said the state university system has 1,628 participants in the Deferred Retirement Program, also known as DROP, and 16,091 participants in the retirement system.

The DROP program allows state employees to collect pension benefits while they are still working and earning a salary.

The original intent of this program was to incentivize senior employees to retire but still allow them to receive money to offset the cost of health insurance until Medicare became available to them.

John Biro, a UF professor and president of the UF chapter of United Faculty of Florida, said that the proposal was “drastic and unacceptable.”

According to Biro, the university’s faculty union represents 1,800 of the 4,000 UF faculty members.

In a speech given on Feb. 1, Scott explained his proposed overhaul of the state’s retirement system to help reduce the state’s $3.6 billion budget deficit.

By eliminating DROP, Scott said he can save the state of Florida $2.8 billion over the course of two years.

Scott wants workers in the state pension system — teachers and other public employees — to contribute 5 percent of their salaries to their 401(k) retirement plans.

If the proposal passes, then DROP system will cease to exist as of July 1.

Current retirees in the program are said to remain unaffected.

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